Duty on cement imports takes effect
The tariff on imported cement takes effect today, following the claim of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that the surge in imports had hurt local cement manufacturers.
DTI published a department administrative order (DAO) in late January, slapping a provisional safeguard duty on cement imports. The order was supposed to take effect 15 days after publication.
For 200 days, imported cement will be slapped a tariff of P210 per metric ton, a move that critics fear will raise retail prices of imported cement.
Local manufacturers are barred from increasing their prices as a result of the duty on imported cement. But some producers skirted the prohibition by increasing their prices before the effectivity of the order.
The provisional duty will stay in place until the Tariff Commission concludes its investigation in the next few months. The probe will delve into the DTI’s claims about the cement industry.
The safeguard duty was slapped after DTI’s own investigation into the cement industry. The DTI embarked on the investigation on its own, as there was no formal petition from the local players.
The DTI concluded, as contained in DAO 19-02, that the local industry “has suffered serious injury caused by increased imports.”
One of the factors that DTI cited in its order is the share of imported cement in the domestic market.
From 2013 to 2015, DTI said importers only had a small share of the local market, but this grew to 8 percent and 13 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
“While the domestic industry’s sales revenues increased from 2013 to 2016, it went down by P11.1 billion in 2017, a decline of 12 percent over the previous year,” the order read.